May Heritage Corner

  • Published
  • By Mr. William McEvoy
  • 47th Flying Training Wing History Office

Given May’s position as the year’s fifth month, it is often associated with growth and success. For Laughlin Air Force Base, that certainly holds true. Throughout the base’s 79-year history, May has seen Laughlin through growth from a plain goat ranch into a thriving and incredibly productive pilot production engine.

01 May 1952: As the U.S. expanded its military forces in the early 1950s to counter communist aggression, the newly created U.S. Air Force expanded quickly. Recognizing its need for more pilots owing to the Korean War, Air Training Command (ATC) opened Laughlin Air Force Base. ATC activated the base’s host unit, the 3645th Pilot Training Wing, to conduct single-engine flight training in T-28 Trojan and T-33 Shooting Star aircraft.

28 May 1964: LAFB’s very first T-38 Talon, named the “City of Del Rio,” arrived. The Talons replaced the aging T-33 Shooting Star fleet.

24 May 1994: LAFB’s first Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) class entered Phase III. Four student pilots went to the fighter/bomber track and 17 began the airlift/tanker track.   

20 May 2005: Department of Defense officials released the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommendations, and Laughlin survived again! Team XL actually gained 16 T-6As and 13 T-38C and 162 full-time and 7 reserve personnel and their related equipment.

These are a few of the month’s major historical highlights, please check back early next month for more. If anyone has any questions about Laughlin’s rich history or its honorable heritage, please feel free to contact the History Office at 298-5420.